Posts Tagged ‘Mark Leibovich’
The close ties of MSNBC and Politico — It’s a common practice for cable news networks to bring in reporters from other outlets for roundtables and panel discussions. But, as BuzzFeed’s Dorsey Shaw reports, MSNBC has an extra-special relationship with Politico. As CNN drifts towards celebrity stories and crime, and FNC sticks to their much-loved guns of conservative pundits, the field is open for young-web-savvy journalists to appear on MSNBC from places like WaPo and Politico, who have an almost-constant presence on the network. MSNBC is third in the battle for ratings, and Shaw says they can step up their game by bringing in journalists from the right, who are eager for an ideological debate, rather than flooding their time slots with liberal reporters. With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, timing couldn’t be better.
Why you should read it: Shaw not only shows the cozy relationship between MSNBC and Politico, but also offers a suggestion on how to improve ratings, something the network is in need of.
‘News never made money’ — There has been much talk in the years since the web has taken over news about the revenue models newspapers can utilize. But, as Reuters’ Jack Shafer argues, “news never made money.” Shafer points out that ad revenues “have fallen to 1950 levels in real dollars.” The news outlets like Politico and the Bureau of National Affairs have succeeded in commercializing news, it is only targeted at an elite audience in Washington, D.C. Shafer argues that “no mass audience is willing to directly pay for such news outside of the one already served by the New York Times.” But in earlier days of newspapers, it was money from political parties that supported what were essentially propaganda rags, something Shafer says is emerging again with entities like FNC and MSNBC, along with a slew of online publications (we’re looking at you HuffPost and Free Beacon). Shafer’s hope: technology will come to the rescue and save the news industry.
Why you should read it: Though a Reuters-style cut-and-dry column, Shafer puts the current conversation about revenues into perspective.
If Politics & Prose owners Brad Graham and Lissa Muscatine are any indication, WaPo‘s new owner Jeff Bezos could get a pretty frosty welcome to Washington, if you can even call it a welcome. In a prickly letter that spells out just what concerns them, they cite a variety of reasons for their disdain.
Both spent stints at WaPo in their respective journalism careers before they bought the bookshop. Both have strong ties to the Graham era of WaPo. Brad was a foreign correspondent, editor and Pentagon reporter; Lissa, a reporter and editor on the Metro and Sports staffs. Both worked under Don Graham‘s leadership. “Don is someone we both admire greatly, and we can’t imagine either journalism or Washington without the Post,” they wrote in a morning newsletter.
The couple really wants to believe the decision to sell to Bezos was a good one, but they have their doubts: “In the past two years, as stewards of another local cultural institution … we’ve routinely encountered a different version of Bezos. Indeed, among many independent booksellers he is perceived as a ruthless competitor bent on disrupting traditional retailers … without regard for the civic and commercial value that local bricks-and-mortar establishments still bring to neighborhoods around the country.”
During a recent appearance by NYT‘s Mark Leibovich at the shop for This Town, Lissa got bent out of shape when Leibovich even mentioned Amazon. She did not want him uttering the word.
After spending much of the newsletter detailing the pitfalls of Bezos, calling him a “bully” and Washington outsider who will continue to live in Seattle, they coldly welcome him to Washington. With a letter like this, no doubt Bezos will be sure to show up to Politics & Prose with bells on – or more likely, never.
“Now that Bezos will be a DC business owner, we’d like to extend our own welcome to him. We even hope that he might find time when in town to visit Politics & Prose and be reminded of the benefits afforded by local bookstores—the joy of browsing shelves, the help provided by expert staff, the pleasures of attending author events, and above all, the shared sense of community.“
On Friday National Journal‘s Editorial Director and national correspondent Ron Fournier went on book leave. The book will center on the genuinely touching National Journal Magazine cover story he wrote about his son’s Asperger’s Syndrome. The story chronicles fatherhood and his own struggles in dealing with his son’s condition. It’s also the journey (“guilt trips,” he calls them) he takes with his son, instructed by his wife, to meet a couple of gracious ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who warmly welcomed the Fourniers on their daily schedules. His wife poignantly says, “‘You can use a job that took you away from Tyler to help him,’ she said, suggesting that we visit historical sites, preferably those connected to presidents, because Tyler loves history and I spent my career covering the White House.”
But at the time the story was published, even some within National Journal felt the piece was mismatched to the publication. A number of journalists also felt uneasy that Fournier had used the cover in such a personal way and expressed as much.
But before he went on leave, last week Fournier attended the This Town book party for Mark Leibovich at an Adams Morgan townhouse called Maison Biltmore. At the soirée, Fournier could be heard complaining about FishbowlDC’s coverage of his impending book. Wow, this was a party for Leibo’s book, but Fournier couldn’t focus on anything but his own? He was heard saying that FishbowlDC had made fun of his son. Really? Is that what Fournier calls it these days when someone points out the possible distasteful concept of publicly exposing your son to attention he may not want, to publicly using your son’s condition to land interviews with ex-Presidents and writing a story on all the reaction his original story received? He turns around and says we made fun of his son?
He may not agree with what we wrote based on reactions some journalists around Washington had to the story that were something less than gushing. But no, readers, we did not make fun of Fournier’s son. See here, here, here, here and here.
Enjoy your book leave, Fournier. We can hardly wait for your return, but somehow we suspect you won’t be able to tear yourself off Twitter for three months. And no, that was not a crack on your son.
By 6:15 p.m. the folding chairs at Politics & Prose were nearly filled as the mostly elderly crowd got situated for the Leibo Show. Two seats contained “reserved” signs, so we were convinced they had to be for NYT‘s Mark Leibovich‘s parents or someone equally important. Holy f–king shit! Was Tammy Haddad coming? Eventually an older couple arrived and sat down. They weren’t Leibo’s parents at all – just random psychology professors who placed the makeshift signs and went next door to eat. Very sneaky.
On Tuesday night, the crowd came to hear Leibovich read from his newly released book, This Town — the dumb thing that Politico has only written about 18 times.
To be sure, the scene felt less This Town and more Seinfeld, the Del Boca Vista episodes.
“How much did you have to pay for that front row seat?” an older gentleman asked a male friend he hadn’t seen in awhile. “Well,” replied the balding acquaintance, “my wife had to knock some people over.”
Later on, an elderly woman with silky bright white hair and a cane used her outside voice to gripe to the person next to her, “I HOPE THIS ENDS AT 8!” The Q & A was still going on at 8:06 p.m. Still annoyed, she added, “I’LL STICK IT OUT BUT I THINK SHE’S LETTING IT GO ON TOO LONG.”
Aside from this woman, if Leibovich was looking for love amid some of the harsher critiques he has received lately, accusing him of social treason and such, this was the place to be. Jim Butcher of the “reserved seat” fame gave the book two thumbs up. “I laughed so much!” he said. “I hope it was meant to be funny. We watch Morning Joe and they all show up on there. It’s one of the funnier books I’ve read in awhile and I read only serious books.”
Soon enough, the author waltzed in. He’s hard to miss – tall, with a shiny bald head, one sharp-edged ear and wearing a blue subtly checked blazer, dark T-shirt and jeans. A momentary hush fell over the aging crowd.
“Brad and I had to fight over who would introduce him,” said Lissa Muscatine, one of the store’s owners, who went on about how neither she, her husband nor Politics & Prose were mentioned in This Town. “As ex-WaPo reporters, far be it for us to be so petty — really, it’s kind of a good news bad news thing to be mentioned in this book.” She tried to articulate the mixed feelings people have about it, saying, “You laugh and then you scream.” This Town, she says, “is what Mark has chronicled so devastatingly and brilliantly.” Still, she cracked that the new beer and wine sold at the shop may make the talk more interesting.
Leibovich stepped up to the podium. “I’m not such a bad guy,” he said, looking down sheepishly. Then he proceeded to majorly suck-up to the owners, telling everyone to buy their books here. Which they did. Some 75 books sold that night, 200 in the past two weeks, making it their top seller for the moment. He mentioned Amazon briefly and then tried to press the verbal delete key when that was met with minor hostility. “This is not me trying to curry favor with the owners,” he said earnestly. “This is our family bookstore. I say this has someone who truly loves the store.” On a touching note: One of Leibo’s daughters posed with the book at the store. He hesitated to call Lissa, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, a source or a friend or even a “friend source” and instead said, “Lissa has always been offering valuable guidance to me.”
With the niceties complete, he dove into real the reason they were all there: This Town. Read more
When it came time to plan a party for the release of his new book, This Town, Mark Leibovich struggled with how to throw a party for a book about the senselessness of Washington parties without it being a huge display of irony.
So to make sure everything was kosher, as The Atlantic’s Molly Ball reports, Leibovich invited “everyone” and served hors d’oeuvres from a table in the back of an under-air-conditioned room. Ball writes a cleverly detailed first-person account of the party, including Washington figures she spotted there, conversations she had and a review of Carl Hulse’s maraca-playing skill (spoiler alert: it was “pretty awful”).
Ball noticed that “Bob (Barnett) or Mikey (Allen) or Tammy (Haddad)” were not present. This probably has something to do with the fact that Leibo paints an especially unflattering portrait them in the book, which was released last week.
Ball also recalls how her conversation with WaPo’s Karen Tumulty was hijacked by Tumulty’s colleague Sally Quinn. Ball writes that she tried to contribute to the conversation the two began to have about Anthony Weiner, “but Quinn does not turn toward me even once, and continues to converse with Tumulty as though I were not there.”
In response to this, many journalists took to Twitter to share their stories of also being ignored by Quinn.
Politico’s Ben White tweeted, “I’ve been #SallyQuinned this way too. So pathetic,” to which Ball replied, “That’s the difference between me & you. I found it totally amusing.”
Dylan Beyers, also of Politico, tweeted, “I recall giving her a very dirty look.”
NPR freelancer Lizzie O’Leary recalled her interaction (or lack of) with Quinn, as well.
“I, too, have been ignored by Sally Quinn. One of my prouder moments,” O’Leary tweeted.
Perhaps Ball summed it up best in a tweet to AP‘s Adam Goldman.
“I mean, she is Sally Fucking Quinn. She doesn’t need to pay attention to folks like me.”
READ THE STORY HERE.
THIS TOWN: “This is the point of the party where I become everything I mock.” — NYT‘s Mark Leibovich at his book party last night at the home of NYT‘s Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. Photograph and quote by Rachel Sklar. If you squint you can see NYT‘s Carl Hulse just behind Leibo’s head.
Special note to NJ‘s Ron Fournier: Our ears were burning last night.
Convo Between a Journo and a Political Type
Political consultant Mike Murphy: “Dear HRC, please put NYC, Huma, and the rest of us out of our misery and cap Carlos Danger. One sentence press release will do it. Thank you.”
Commentary‘s John Podhoretz: “Shaddap you face trying to spoil everybody’s fun.”
Beauty queen pissed at bread throwers
“Dear ppl who throw bread at birds: clean up your shit! It’s not my dogs job to eat your moldy bread! Thanks for the morning heart attack!” — Miss DC 2009 Jen Corey.
Politico Playbook Publish Time: 6:56 a.m. (In which they spell “Caroline Kenndy” like that.)
What’s the definition of ‘is’?
Comm guy nearly hit by car
“GAH! Almost drilled by a driver making a high speed left turn while I was IN THE BLOODY CROSSWALK. Heart is still in back of my throat. Seriously, if I hadn’t looked up and stopped, I’d be on my way to the ER right now. Oy.” — Ben Harris, Rockville-based communications professional.
Fournier tells political observers to shut up
“Partisans (Rs and Ds): The presidential address you’re twittering about won’t be heard by most Americans or effect their lives. Move along.” — NJ‘s Ron Fournier, the moral compass of This Town.
Anthony Weiner admitted yesterday to using the online alias Carlos Danger to carry on a strange Internet affair with a 22-year-old woman. If you’re anything like us, that got you wondering how Weiner came up with such a great alias. Already having graced the news media by having the last name Weiner, he’s provided another amazing name to fill headlines and Twitter jokes.
But lets face it, sometimes we all need an alias, whether it’s to ghost-write a book or set up a Swedish bank account to hold mounds of embezzled money. And if you haven’t found your inner-Carlos Danger yet, don’t worry, it’s not hard at all. Yesterday afternoon, Chris Kirk of Slate posted a Carlos Danger Name Generator that figures it out for you. We of course had to figure out the alter-egos of the FBDC staff, as well as a few journos around D.C. Enjoy.
Silvestre Sly: Betsy Rothstein, FBDC
José Jeopardy: Peter Ogburn, FBDC
Pascual Death: Justin McLachlin, FBDC
Lorenzo Distress: Austin Price, FBDC
Now see the rest…
Rocky radio interview
“That moment when your son stumbles into the room during your radio interview. . . #franticgestures #silentscream” — the Washington Examiner‘s Charlie Spiering.
A D.C. journo reacts to MSNBC host’s tampon earrings
“Melissa Harris Perry quite literally the most unserious person ever, dons tampon earrings because she’s a ridiculous person” — Free Beacon‘s Adam Kredo.
Our AnonymASS tipster stays on the faux David Gregory beat … “Spotted: David Gregory in Safeway carbonated beverage aisle boning up for lead-off question in upcoming FishbowlDC interview”
Other views on the royal birth
“A future king was born today. One day he could grow up and marry a prince!” — Daily Dish writer Andrew Sullivan.
“Could there be anything more delicious than “The Newsroom,” which is a parody of itself, parodying coverage of royal baby? Can’t wait.” — Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston.
Writer unravels her feelings
“ESTOY ENOJADA OK? CONTIGO, CONMIGO, CON TODOS DUDES and oh shit it’s probably just that thing I read on Slate whatever.” — Freelance journo Moe Tkacik. (Loose translation: I am mad, ok? With you. With me. With all dudes.)
Reminder: Tonight NYT‘s author Mark Leibovich appears at Politics & Prose Book Shop at 7 p.m. to discuss This Town.
Speaking of This Town…
“Reading This Town, finally. The description of the news cycle feels a bit quaint — like it is frozen in time from 2008.” — Politico‘s Blake Hounshell.
You’d think a mention in the number three slot of the famed birthday section of Politico Mike Allen‘s Playbook would be a sufficient birthday wish for former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas). But no, today the Bipartisan Policy Center, which Dole co-founded, has gotten ambitious with its birthday desires, and wants political bystanders to send in their birthday wishes to the Center’s Facebook page, Twitter account or email address. (For prime sucking up, we’ll provide all that later.) What they really want is for you to tweet a picture of yourself drinking Dole’s favorite drink – a chocolate milkshake. Well? What are you waiting for?
They write in a release, “Join us in wishing Senator Bob Dole a Happy Birthday by enjoying his favorite dessert, the classic chocolate milkshake. All are invited to submit a photo with you and your flavor of choice to participate in the birthday festivities. Post to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Facebook Page tweet @BPC_Bipartisan (hashtag #Dole90), email firstname.lastname@example.org. Select milkshake photos will be chosen and included in Bob Dole’s birthday card for his 90th Birthday.”
Could you even imagine landing on Dole’s 90th birthday card sipping a chocolate milkshake? (Quick memo to NYT‘s Mark Leibovich: You thinking about a sequel?)